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Starting a Christmas Quilt

I thought I'd let you in on my process for designing a quilt.  Of course, every quilt is a bit different, but here's how this one is transpiring in real time!  I had the unusual desire to make a Christmas quilt.  I have NEVER come near this thought before!  I've never been a real fan of the traditional Christmas colors for a quilt.  Although there are many cute Christmas prints and palettes, it was one area that never tempted me. 

But suddenly I've been hit by the desire to make one!  So what do I start with?  In this case, the options are limitless. I don't have a specific pattern or color palette I want to use.  I turn to Pinterest and other favorite image sources and start searching for Christmas quilts to see if anything catches my eye and to narrow down what I like and don't like. 

I usually go through a few different ideas before I settle on one.  In this case it was...

houses quilt......scrappy houses........I love Cotton and Steel's older Christmas collections.........maybe I should buy some of them..........actually I don't want to make a house quilt..............here's a vintage quilt on Pinterest that I like!...............let's make this one...........and I shouldn't buy more fabric so I'll look in my stash........

Here's the vintage quilt I found on Pinterest. Isn't it lovely and the perfect Christmas quilt pattern?  So looking at these blocks, there are 3 blocks across and 4 down.  If I make each block finish at 20", that will be the perfect size!

Next comes color placement choices!  I drew out one block and colored it in.  Then I took a photo of that one block and uploaded it into Picmonkey on my laptop.  From there  I can duplicate the block and turn them to make the design.  I like it!  I don't think I'll even try any other combos, since this one is a win for me.

Next comes the math.  A quilt like this is fairly simple to figure out, as it's just one block repeated and each block has only squares and HST's.

Finally it's time to raid the fabric cupboard to see what we have on hand.  More than enough color selection!  Although it would have been fun to have an excuse for a few cute christmas prints, I think these will do nicely! 

And now we will see if this can be done before Christmas!

Scrappy Stars Quilt

Is there an official name for this pattern?  It's not that common, but I do see it now and then.  It is very simple, but effective. 

You use a combination of 5" squares, 2.5" squares, and 2.5"x5" rectangles.  On the rectangles, you sew little corners on, just like you would for a wonky star block.  If I knew what it is called, I'd link to a tutorial or pattern, but I'm not sure where to find one...

Yay!  I just found the one I was thinking of!  I adore the version in this pattern with the red stars, and think it would be an amazing quilt to make.  Find it here.

This pattern does two things differently than mine.  I sewed the star corners on 'wonky'.  This means that I didn't cut and measure them all the same size.  Also, I put a row of empty squares around the edge without stars in them.  I just like the way it gives the design a chance to breathe.

Another Scrappy Trip Quilt

Four Patch in a Square Tutorial

Here's the current rabbit trail I've been traveling down.  I don't know if there's an official name for this block, but obviously it should be called Four Patch in a Square:)

I originally made the nine blocks you see in the upper left corner of the collage above.  I loved them so much I knew I'd have to make a whole quilt, even though they're small.  Each block measure 4 3/4", so when it's sewn into the quilt, each block will only be 4 1/4".  This means a lot of blocks needed to make a quilt!

That's why I stopped at a baby size, thinking that would do... but now I've decided to go larger.  The blocks may be small, but I think it will be worth it because these blocks are just. so. cute.

And they're not hard to make!  Very simple actually.  I've included a basic tutorial below, with instructions to make one block.  I usually make these blocks in batches of a dozen.  So keep that in mind when following this tutorial.

After sewing the four patch together, pinch the triangles in half to make a center mark.  This crease should line up with the center of the four patch when sewing it on.

Also remember that the diagonal of these triangles is a bias cut, so handle them gently as they can stretch a bit.

I pressed all my seams open on this block, but you can press them your preferred way.  Also, if you're a perfectionist and those little tails on the finished block bother you, by all means trim them off!  

These are such sweet and fun little blocks to make!

Quilt the Book:Simply Retro...Complete!

Here we have all the quilt I made out of the book 'Simply Retro'.  Two of the quilts were large lap size/twin quilts, and the rest were baby size or I downsized them to baby size.  Although I finished the last one at least a year ago, I can say that I really enjoyed this project.

I think I enjoy having some creative restraints.  Working with a pattern that I may not have chosen and then finding fabrics and maybe a slight design tweak for it is very rewarding for me.

Simply Retro: Vintage and Fresh

Remember back when I decided to quilt through a book?  You can read about it here if you like.  Anyways, I did make every quilt but one in that book.  I just forgot to blog about the last two quilts so I'll show them to you now, even though they were made and sold many months ago.

This first one is called 'Vintage'.  This block reminds me a bit of the granny square block, but constructed differently.  I also downsized it ALOT.  I really like this smaller version of the block!  The strips in the original were 4", and I think I made them 2", so the blocks will have ended up around 12".